The Unplugged Story

The Legend of the Unplugged Gamers
An Origin Story

Prologue

The Unplugged Gamers stormed the Northeastern United States Warhammer tournament scene in 2011. To many, it seemed that this powerhouse of a gaming club simply appeared out of thin air. Over time, conflicting rumors began to circulate over when and how the club got its start, leading to many heated arguments, broken friendships, and locked forum threads.

Now, for the first time, Unplugged Gamer Greg Person has decided to spin the tale of legend in an attempt to lay these petty quarrels to rest once and for all. Read on, if you dare, and discover how a gaggle of unlikely gamers united their powers to monopolize soft scores in tournaments around the world.

Chapter One: When Jeff met Peyton

One of the hallmarks of the Unplugged Gamers is the inseparable duo Juicy Fruit and P-Mint. With their jovial banter, liberal use of pop culture references, and intricate system of betting based around the McChicken, one would like to believe that these two have been best friends since time immemorial. However, it was on a stormy afternoon in the summer of 2007 when their paths first crossed…

Peyton was standing in line at McDonald’s, staring absentmindedly out of the window as the rain relentlessly pounded on the asphalt. He was thankful for the summer storm, as it was the only time he was given a brief reprieve from his long hours on the tobacco farm. It was on these rare occasions that he was able to indulge his love for the McChicken  which, coincidentally, was the most nutrient dense meal his meager wages tending tobacco would allow. Peyton was pulled abruptly from his thoughts as the voice of the cashier registered in his mind.

“Kid… hey, kid! Are you ready to order or what?” the lady behind the counter demanded with a look of agitation.

“Uh, yeah, sorry. I’ll have…”

Just as Peyton was about to order, he froze. The source of his sudden transfixion was the melodious tone of the gentlemen at the register beside him. Spoken in the knowing manner of one who places the same order on every occasion, the young man said, “I’ll take a McChicken and fries. Be sure to leave off the onions. It’s not that I don’t like onions, in fact, I love them. But only when they are cut into circles of ascending circumference. These tiny pieces make me queasy. And top it off with a chocolate McShake. Normally, I prefer Strawberry, but the one you serve lacks those tiny flecks of real fruit. Without  those, you can hardly even consider it to be a Strawberry shake, am I right?”

Despite his somewhat overindulgent delivery, this customer had ordered what Peyton  referred to as the “P-Mint Special.” How could it be that another human being had such refined taste, he wondered.

“Jeez, what are you, slow in the head or somethin’ kid? Sometime today, please.”

Once again brought back to reality by the cashier, Peyton placed his order. The gentleman one line over took notice. Seeing as they had both arrived alone, the two selected a relatively clean booth and dined together.

After making their introductions, Peyton and Jeff dove into sophisticated dinner  conversation. Peyton explained how, during his long hours on the tobacco fields, he studied the works of several noted German thinkers, such as Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx. It was through his analysis of their social theories that Peyton had developed his own, unique philosophy he called reclusivism.

“As a student of reclusivism, one must follow a rational line of thought to a singular conclusion. This conclusion, which now informs my day to day life, is that no relationship is worth pursuing with another human being unless it is guaranteed to lead to sex.” Peyton asserted.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Jeff immediately informed his newfound friend that his logic was flawed, and that he could provide the empirical evidence to prove it.

Thus, Jeff introduced Peyton to Warhammer, a game referred to in some circles as “the  antithesis of sex.” As time wore on, Peyton and Jeff honed their skills as painters and tabletop tacticians. Finding great joy in the company of Jeff and the Warhammer hobby, Peyton was forced to abandon his philosophy of reclusivism. During the long hours spent painting miniatures, Juicy Fruit and P-Mint argue the finer points of new philosophies, based upon the lives of characters in such hit TV shows as Futurama and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Chapter Two: A Chance Encounter at UConn

Our next tale is set on the campus of UConn, a school widely acclaimed for both its basketball program and its conduciveness to drunken revelry. It was in the freshmen dorms where Sweet’ums first met Dad. Were it not for their chance encounter, the Unplugged Gamers may never have formed…

It was Noah’s first night as a college student, and he couldn’t sleep. It was not anxiety over his classes or the fear of meeting new people that kept him awake. Rather, it was the presence of his roommate on the bunk below.

Noah had arrived bright and early on his first day and eagerly set about unpacking and decorating the dorm room. He was particularly proud of the poster that hung on the wall opposite the door, greeting any who entered the room. It featured George Castanza in a seductive pose, clothed in naught but his skivvies. Excellent, Noah had thought to himself. His roommate had not arrived until several hours later. An intimidating hulk of a young man, standing fully erect at just over seven feet, rippling muscles threatening to burst the seams of his sweat-stained white shirt, a rather nasty looking scar running the length of his neck, walked into the room and introduced himself simply as “Cutter.”

The smile on Noah’s face, upon which he had a very tenuous grasp after seeing his roommate, was erased completely once Cutter pulled a hunting knife from his back pocket and tore down the prized George Castanza poster without so much as a word. From that point on, Noah eschewed any attempt at conversation with his roommate, which seemed to sit just fine with Cutter.

Now, at nine o‘clock in the evening, Noah could not fall asleep no matter how hard he tried. All of a sudden, the bunk below erupted into a series of grunting noises and swooshes as Cutter repeatedly slashed his knife through the air, apparently practicing his stabbing. Noah leapt from the top bunk and bolted out the door, unconcerned that he, like his idol George Castanza, was in naught but his skivvies.

*****

It was around nine pm when Jon heard a furious banging on his door. He sighed, wondering if his roommate had returned to yell at him again, and stood up. He gazed through the peephole and was surprised to find the rather alarmed face of a student from across the hall. They had met briefly, during the residence hall meeting, and Jon vaguely remembered the guy introducing himself as Noah.

When he opened the door, Jon was almost knocked over as Noah crashed into the room. “Please,” he said in a desperate voice, “can I stay here tonight?”

Jon paused several moments before responding. Although his instincts told him to kick out the man standing before him, trembling in his boxers, Jon found saw an emotion in his eyes which he could connect with: disappointment.

Jon’s first day as an undergrad had not lived up to his expectations. He had been told repeatedly since he was a boy that his college years would be the best of his life. Taking this to heart, Jon had put his micromanagement skills to the task and painstakingly created a schedule for each and every day of his college career, mapping out the minutiae of every minute of every hour. It had not taken long for his day to fall off schedule.

Earlier that evening, Jon’s roommate had stormed off to request a transfer from the RA. Jon thought they had gotten off to a fine start, but their friendship had quickly fallen to pieces when Jon tried to explain the daily schedule.

“At 17:00 hours we’ll have a group shower,” Jon began, “You see, group showers really are a win-win for everyone on campus. The money saved on the water bill will allow the university to allocate more funds to important student groups such as the war gaming club and the heavy metal enthusiasts. And, let’s be honest, you know you can’t reach the small of your back by yourself.”

With the arrival of Noah, Jon’s schedule had once again been derailed. He was supposed to be spending 21:00 to 21:30 testing out different arrangements of his citadel paint collection. He was confident that a specific arrangement could be achieved to limit the amount of time spent reaching for paints, thus making the entire process of painting his Skaven more efficient. If he shaved off even three seconds, his calculations showed he could have a full 2500 point force in less than a year’s time.

“Alright,” Jon decided at last. “You can stay here. Besides, I don’t have a roommate. But you’ll have to be mindful of my schedule. Right now I need to work on…”

“Hey, are those Warhammer models?” Noah interrupted. “I love that game!”

Chapter Three: Of Love and War(gaming)

We continue our story by travelling across the state to another, albeit smaller, college campus: CCSU. It was here that Jen and Greg, the celebrity couple of the Unplugged Gamers, spent their formative years. A far cry from the well spoken and attractive individuals that they are today, the two fell in love when they were decidedly less mature…

No one could argue that Jen was successful in college. She excelled in her studies, had plenty of friends, and maintained a busy schedule. However, in her heart of hearts she felt incomplete. Jen was a young woman of varied interests, and had segmented her life accordingly. Thanks to the recent invention of Facebook, Jen had created several aliases for herself that allowed her to fully express the different aspects of her personality. For example, her classmates knew her as Heather Grunwald, an economics major who always made the dean’s list and spent her free time studying theoretical mathematics and unlocking the secrets of the fourth dimension.

On the other hand, the ladies of the fourth floor of Gallaudet Hall knew her as Jenny Grogan, the hottest member of the CCSU dance team who knew how to party hardy and could cause any college guy to fall of his skateboard with a toss of her hair.

Still, her most secret identity, known only to a handful of regulars at the Games Workshop in Manchester Connecticut, was Jenasrai. It was through this channel that Jen and Greg met; the first tender steps of their courtship occurring across the broadband waves of the internet.

The pair spent several weeks messaging one another back and forth via Facebook, playfully sending virtual “pokes” for all to see, and even spending several hours at a time discussing the finer points of 6th edition on AOL Instant Messenger. Finally, the time of their first date arrived. Wishing to maintain the concealment of her various identities, Jen agreed to meet Greg for a game of Warhammer at the Games Workshop. Upon first glance, it was clear to Jen that an all too common nerd anxiety had befallen her well intentioned date. Greg’s hair was stubbornly sticking out at odd angles, despite several obvious attempts to tame it with gel, resulting in a rather crusty appearance. His choice in light blue shirt was a poor one, as his pit stains seemed to defy logic and grow before her eyes. His glasses, crooked, bent out of shape, and decidedly uncomplimentary to his pimpled face, continuously slid off his nose. As a result, he would push them back with a clammy hand every so often, each time gaining a new grease smear across the lenses. The piece de resistance was the overwhelming smell of axe, applied in generous coats to mask the gamer funk.

To this day, Jen and Greg cannot recall what happened on their first date. Perhaps it was the intoxicating feeling of love at first sight which overpowered their memories. Or, perhaps more likely, it was the two cans of axes which permanently damaged their nervous systems. In any case, they went home that night and became “official” on Facebook. Throughout the years Jen has managed to transform Greg into some semblance of a normal human being, while Greg helped Jen to come to grips with all aspects of her personality. As such, Jen can often be seen with drink in hand at tournaments, doing a victory dance as she uses her knowledge of probability to best her opponents.

Chapter Four: The Founding

Although they had begun to form together in pairs, the six protagonists of our plot had yet to unify as one cohesive group. This was not to happen until the summer of 2010, when the lure of a tournament in Western Massachusetts forced them all to gather. It is in the crowded, poorly ventilated gaming store where our next chapter unfolds…

A tournament… a contest of arms… a chance to test your mettle on the battlefield and win fame and fortune, or lose it all in a fiery blaze. It was with visions of grandeur in their heads that Jeff, Peyton, Noah, Jon, Jen, and Greg all converged on Off the Wall games in Hadley, Massachusetts. Although none of them could have predicted, the day would end up being pivotal in realizing their destiny.

None of the Unplugged Gamers can quite remember who it was, but one of them was paired up in the first round of the tournament against Mad Mike Tiskus. In the end, this detail mattered not. What they do remember, with crystal clear precision, is how the tournament fell apart during that fateful first round.

Mad Mike hadn’t even finished deploying his Dark Elf army when he had his opponent completely spell bound. Mike is a man who has tread many paths, has witnessed many turnings of the season, has experienced many journeys, and has observed it all with a keen understanding. Once he begins to spin his yarn, none but the strongest willed individuals can pull away. He captivates his audience with his sharp wit, his cynical commentary, and his ability to tell it like it is.

Before long, all of the would be tournament goers were clustered around Mike’s table, listening with baited breath as Mike delved into the heart of another rant. His words twisted  and turned across many topics, weaving an overarching tapestry of a grim society that caused all to believe that, you know what, a zombie apocalypse might just be what this world needs after all. The hours passed by, and Mike’s net weaved tighter and tighter around his audience.

No matter what topic Mike’s fiery oration tackled, he always returned to his passionate love/hate relationship with television. Moral decay, the homogenization of a bland culture, the brainwashing of a generation, capitalist propaganda, and the rise in obesity and lethargy were all linked by a common thread.

As the dust settled on the evening, many of the gamers had gone home. Stunned, the converts in the crowd turned to gaze upon one another. Seven were left, and the seven knew their purpose. They would form a gaming club, united under the banner of truth and freedom with Mad Mike Tiskus as their fearless leader. Like the luddites of old, they would rally together and strike back against technological innovation. They would become the Unplugged Gamers.

Chapter Five: Expansion

Coming soon!

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